Manzano Monster Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,938' 896 m
Descent: -2,936' -895 m
High: 7,708' 2,349 m
Low: 6,414' 1,955 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
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“A tour of the trail networks in the Northern Manzano Mountains.”— LeeAB Brinckerhoff
Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown
You can ride this either way but I don't like to be climbing on the loose eroded stuff in the Cedro Peak area and instead, I start by heading up Tunnel/Otero. While dirt bikes are allowed throughout much of the trail system they seem to mostly stay in the Cedro/Oak Flat areas and as such those trails can be very loose and badly eroded during dry times.
This is a long ride with a fair bit of climbing, even after getting through the "uphill" part and as such you may want to stash a car up at Oak Flat or Mars Court to be able to refill water and restock food.
Need to Know
Southern Crossing to Deadman, turn Right; Right onto Oak Flat Connector; Left onto Easy Pickin' and then two choices, either are great: Left onto Caida Del Pino to Mahogany (fun descent) or stay on Easy Pickin' to Mahogany, turn left, and follow directions for 2nd half of ride.
Make a left onto Tunnel Canyon and start climbing. Upon reaching the top, some rock gardens await before the junction with the West Ridge trail. Stay on the Tunnel Canyon trail and make the drop down to Otero Canyon. Several stair step drops are along this section of trail along with a couple of switchbacks and other tight turns and spots.
Once down to the Otero Canyon trail, make a hard right and start climbing, quickly passing the Blue Ribbon trail on your left. Otero Canyon is an awesome downhill run and not half bad going up, you could stop and play on the ledge drops. Once up the second steep rocky climb, roll a short ways up to the DOA boundary, passing the end of the West Ridge trail on your right and coming to the junction with the G Nasty Trail.
Turn left and climb this up to the meadow and the junction with the Blue Ribbon trail, nothing much of note besides the nice singletrack and one stair step in a very steep part of the trail. Once you reach the meadow, make a right onto the Blue Ribbon Trail and immediately tackle a rock garden in the trees. Once through that gradual climbing gets progressively rockier until you come out onto FS Road 106. Make a left on FS Road 106 and pedal along until you come to the Drop In trail on your right.
Roll down the Drop In, being careful to stay left, you'll see signs for the DOA boundary here and there, most notably about 5 in a row shortly after a log roll-over. Hang a left at a prominent trail junction and climb up to a 5? way junction with FS Road 106, another road and the Cajun Pine trail which is on the left just past the main jumble of trails and roads. Follow Cajun Pine, staying right at all trail junctions until you come to a FS Road. Just across the road and a little to the right, pick up Cajun Turkey and follow this to Wild Turkey (this looks like a road but quickly narrows to singletrack) and make a left. Follow this until you reach the Mars Court trailhead.
Pedal out to the pavement and make a left. Ride the road until you come to Hwy 337, make a left and then a right onto Oak Flat Road. Ride up Oak Flat Road until you come to the Oak Flat picnic Area and turn in. Work to the right in the picnic area to pick up the Mahogany trail.
Follow the Mahogany trail through a bunch of intersections until you can drop down to your left onto Pokerchip trail. Follow Pokerchip across FS Road 242 and start to climb loose baby heads, this is where the dirt bike traffic is really high (be careful in corners because of the loose trail surface) though there is some on Mahogany and the first part of Pokerchip as well. When the climb flattens out, look for the Meadow Singletrack trail on your left. Gradual climbing leads to a seat of your pants descent and another short section of FS Road, rocky downhill.
Once you've made it to level ground, ride a short way to Rattlesnake on your left, turn up that but quickly go right onto the Might Mule trail. Follow Might Mule to its end on Road 12 and head right, crossing FS Road 462 and joining the end of the Coyote trail. Descend the Coyote trail past the Coyote Split and make a left on the Coyote-Chamisoso Link trail. Follow this across FS Road 462 and make a right onto the Chamisoso trail which then T's into the Powerline trail. Make a right onto Powerline and pedal back to the ATV Bypass and eventually Chamisoso Road and the trailhead.